Reading time: 3 - 4 minutes
Video Time: 26 minutes 36 seconds
Let’s start off a week of science and technology-related videos with Neil Gershenfeld, who is head of the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT. In this short but information-packed video, Gershenfeld discusses the Digital Revolution that has brought about the existence of “Fab Labs.” What exactly is a “Fab Lab?” Well, the term is short for fabrication laboratory, which, according to Gershenfeld, is a place where you can make pretty much whatever you want. In this video, you’ll learn how these new labs are putting the process of invention at the fingertips of ordinary people.
Gershenfeld discusses how, several years ago, he taught a digital fabrication class at MIT which he called, “How to Make (Almost) Anything.” Gershenfeld marveled at how excited the students were to create things that fulfilled their own personal interests or desires. The examples that he gives of his student’s inventions, which include a web browser for parrots, and an alarm clock that needs to be wrestled before it shuts off, are hilarious but incredibly unique. These inventions illustrate the infinite possibilities of Fab Labs –which make it possible for anyone, anywhere to become an inventor.
Gershenfeld also describes how Fab Lab’s have been helping communities solve problems locally. Fab Lab’s are popping up all over the globe in places like India, Africa, and Norway. Be sure not to miss the end of the video where Gershenfeld gives examples of how people in other countries are using Fab Labs to solve local problems. One example he gives is how a community in India is making analytical instruments in their Fab Lab, so they can test their milk to make sure it is safe for consumption. These instruments, if purchased, would be extremely costly, but thanks to the Fab Lab, the people are able to make them for a very small amount of money. Gershenfeld also shows how Fab Labs bring technology to rural areas, when at one point in the video he points to a tiny computer that was made with only $10 worth of materials and can be hooked up to a regular TV.
In this video, you’ll learn that not only are the possibilities of invention endless, but they are also within your reach. No doubt, this Digital Revolution in personal fabrication will continue to change the world. For more information on Fab Labs, check out Neil Gershenfeld’s book, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop– from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication.